I've assembled some notes from old manuals and other sources
on the formats used for on-disk file systems through the
Additional notes, comments on style, and whatnot are welcome.
(It may be sensible to send anything in the last two categories
directly to me, rather than to the whole list.)
----- Forwarded message from meljmel-unix(a)yahoo.com -----
Thanks for your help. To my amazement in one day I received
8 requests for the documents you posted on the TUHS mailing
list for me. If you think it's appropriate you can post that
everything has been claimed. I will be mailing the Unix TMs
and other papers to Robert Swierczek <rmswierczek(a)gmail.com>
who said he will scan any one-of-a-kind items and make them
available to you and TUHS. The manuals/books will be going
to someone else who very much wanted them.
----- End forwarded message -----
We do have ken on the list, so I won't be presumptious to ask for ken-related
anecdotes, but would anybody like to share some dmr anecdotes?
I never met Dennis in person, but he was generous with his time about my
interest in Unix history; and also with sharing the material he still had.
Dennis was very clever, though. He would bring out a new artifact and say:
well, here's what I still have of X. Pity it will never execute again, sigh.
I'm sure he knew that I would take that as a challenge. Mind you, it worked,
which is why we now have the first Unix kernel in C, the 'nsys' kernel, and
the first two C compilers, in executable format.
Any other good anecdotes?
As I continue to push the boundaries of subjective topicism, I'd like
to mention that today was when Sir Maurice Wilkes FRS FReng was born way
back in 1913.
He had a bit to do with EDSAC, microprogramming, and that sort of thing.
And dmmmit, I missed Alan Turing's birthday last Saturday (23rd June, 1912),
and Komrad Zuse's back in 22nd June, 1910, along with the Qwerty keyboard
being patented by one Christopher Sholes back in 1868 (long story).
My favorite 3B2ism was that the power switch was soft (uncommon then, not so
much now). I seem to recall that if the logged in user wasn't in a
particular group, pushing the power button was a no-op. You didn't have
sufficient privs to operate the power.
Surely you mean the current user didn't have sufficent power.
> From: Mike Markowski
> a cute, slender gal came into the lab. ... I typed mkfs... On the plus
> side, I ended up marrying the girl.
OK, so now I _have_ to hear the backstory - _when_ did you tell her what
happened? Then? (Maybe she noticed the look on your face once you realized
what you'd done? :-) Later? Never? :-)
I've told this story so much that my kids hear me start it and go "is that
the Unix guy? Yeah, we've heard this". And I think many of you have heard
it as well so you can hit delete, but for the newbies to the list here goes.
Decades ago I was a grad student at UWisc and pretty active on comp.arch
and comp.unix-wizards (I was not a wizard but I've lived through, and
written up, the process of restoring a Masscomp after having done some
variant of rm -rf / so a stupid wizard wanna be?)
>From time to time, some Unix kernel thing would come up and I'd email
...!research!dmr and ask him how that worked.
He *always* replied. To me, a nobody. All he cared was that the question
wasn't retarded (and I bet to him some of mine were but the questions showed
that I was thinking and that was good enough for him). I remember a long
discussion about something, I think PIPEBUF but not sure, and at some point
he sent me his phone number and said "call me". Email was too slow.
So yeah, one of the inventors of Unix was cool enough to take some young
nobody and educate him. That's Dennis.
I've tried to pass some of that energy forward to my kids, telling them
that if you want to learn, smart people like that and they will help you.
Dennis was a humble man, a smart man, and a dude willing to pass on what
I miss him and cherish the interactions I had with him.